Who: Sharon DiLeo
Role: Charity Coordinator
# of years at HH: Since 2014
Favourite holiday song: White Christmas, Bing Crosby
Favourite Quote: "Everyone has oceans to fly, if they have the heart to do it. Is it reckless? Maybe. But what do dreams know of boundaries?" - Amelia Earhart
What do you do at Holiday Helpers Canada?
I manage the family application and wish list process. Each year, I ensure that we reach our target goal for the number of families we will sponsor during Christmas. I liaise with our 19 partner agencies who refer local families in need (see "Q. Who are the Partner Organizations that refer families?"), and assist them through the online process, answer their questions, and work with volunteers to complete the wish lists to meet the deadline in which we start sending the completed lists to sponsors. During our warehouse week, I co-manage the warehouse, aka Santa's Workshop, and the wrapping floor. During the wrapping week at the warehouse, my goal is to ensure that all the sponsored families phone numbers and addresses are up to date for our delivery dates. As well, I am the contact during our delivery dates for volunteer drivers to connect with should there be any questions with a delivery. I also manage our website volunteer sign-up pages, and respond to any questions through our firstname.lastname@example.org email. It's a lot of fun and I truly love it!
What do you like most about your job?
I enjoy chatting with the families, working with our partner agencies and the feeling of the adrenaline building as we move towards our wrapping/delivery week in December. I love the feeling of bringing Christmas to those who might not otherwise have it each year. I am huge fan of the Christmas season, as was my mom. She always made the season so wonderful for me and my siblings and I try do the same for my children.
What is your most memorable Christmas experience?
On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, I would play board games with my mom and siblings and we loved those times! We were all very competitive, so each game lent itself to some funny moments, especially since my mom always managed to bring laughter into everything. To this day, I still play Monopoly with my children (now teenagers) and we have so many versions to choose from. My mom always made every Christmas memorable for me, even into my adult years.
You’ve been in the non-profit industry for a while now, what’s the biggest change from when you started to right now?
Awareness. Since being a part of Holiday Helpers Canada, I have become so much more aware of grassroots programs, agencies and charities. It is amazing to see how much “word of mouth” can carry due to the explosion of social media. There are so many technical venues now for us to reach many more people, it's awesome. I urge people to check out the charity's Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts to get a real sense of our work.
What is your favourite holiday dish? Favourite holiday cocktail?
The best holiday dish is Christmas pudding with Bird’s Custard - my grandmother and my mom used to make it every Christmas. My favourite beverage is coffee with Baileys - very warm and relaxing on Christmas morning.
Check out this yummy Christmas pudding recipe - very similar to my grandmother's.
What is the most important that you’ve learned working with Holiday Helpers Canada?
Perspective - to see a situation in many different shades, rather than just black and white. I truly value the enjoyment of being around the same like-minded people when it comes to giving their time and efforts for something great to the community.